Monthly Archives: March 2019

Logic Pro 10 Blog
Mar 26

Logic Pro X: How to Prepare Stems for Mixing

By _bayland | Logic Pro X , Tips

Logic Pro X: How to Prepare Stems for Mixing

 

Sending your song to us online for mixing and mastering, is easy. It’s actually easier than exporting stems, but it’s important to make sure your files are sent correctly. Thankfully, Logic Pro X has everything you need to prepare your song for mixing!

A stem is a single element of the song exported as a single file. Multiple tracks that you’re rendering at one time can be put together to recreate the song.

Should you mix your own music? It’s hard to see the big picture when you’ve spent a lot of time on the same project. There are a lot of reasons why it’s important to send your song to a good mixing and mastering engineer at Studio 411:

  • Fast Turnaround
  • Professionally Treated Monitoring Environments
  • Skilled Professionals
  • Flat and Affordable Rates – No Need to Book Studio Time

See what our mixing and mastering engineers can do for you. For a limited time Studio 411 is offering a free trial. Try your first mix free!

Now lets get started with your exports!

Save as: New Alternative

Logic’s new “Alternatives” feature allows you to save a version of the track inside the same project. It’s similar to the “Save As” feature but it’s important to save a new “Alternative” before you begin and call it “Stem Prep.” This way you can do any of the steps below without worrying that you’ve damaged the original project. From Logic’s File menu select Alternatives, then New Alternative.

Logice Pro X: Save Alternatives

Bypass Plugins and Effects

Bypass any plugins on the tracks that will not be used in mixing. Usually it’s everything except plugins that are an integral part of the overall sound. It is not plugins that make the sound “better”, rather plugins that shape the sound. For example: if you have a audio recording of your closet door closing, and you processed it to make it sound like a kick drum. Make sure you keep as much of that sound. This is your decision and you’ll need to go track by track. As a general rule bypass everything because your mix engineer will likely be able to recreate what you did on it. If you feel your engineer will not be able to re-create that sound you may need to export a “wet” and “dry” version (with and without effects).

Logic Pro X: Bypass Plugins

Delete Muted and Unused Tracks

From Logic’s Track menu select Delete Unused Tracks. Muted tracks are included, so unless you want them included in the stems package, delete them too. If not, make sure to un-mute your tracks! They will likely get exported as an empty audio file.

Logic Pro X: Delete Muted and unused tracks

Merge Your Tracks

If you have tracks that need to be merged: ex. Door Close/Kick Sample. Those stacked sounds that are never meant to be played apart from one another, need to be merged. The less tracks your mixer needs to go through, the faster he/she will be able to return your song, and the less you will be paying for the final product! Select all the regions you’ll be merging. Control-click one of the selected regions and from the menu select Bounce in Place (from the Bounce and Join menu). You’ll be given the option of wether or not to include any effects on the tracks. Once the newly merged track is created, delete the originals and all the content on them. You saved your song as a new Alternative so you will be able to return to the original if you made a mistake.

Logic Pro X: Merge Tracks

Remove Automation

You might have added volume, panning, or modulation automation on your track as you were creating it. This is generally not wanted by the mixing engineer. To remove this: First select the track, press A to toggle the automation view, then select the automation you want to remove from the list. Once it’s visible, from the Mix: Delete Automation menu, select Delete Visible Automation on Selected Track. You have the option to remove automation/panning across all tracks when exporting, but from my experience, it’s not normally all or nothing. In most genres automation is creative effect and can be a part of the “sound” itself. Make sure to keep everything that’s important.

Logic Pro X: Delete Automation

Including Busses for Export

There are very few instances this may be an option, but you may have a “sub-group/sub-mix” of your gang vocals, or 20 rhythm guitar tracks. Instead of sending all of them to your mixer, you’ll need to export them as a single audio file. First open the mixer and find the Aux/Bus tracks you want to include. Control-click each of them and select Create Track. This will add the track to the Arrange Window/Work Space.

Logic Pro X: Add Auxes to Export

Close the Mixer window and select the newly created Aux/Bus track in the Arrange window. Switch now to the Pencil tool, and create an empty region on bar one. Stretch that region all the way out to the end of the song. When you go to Export All Tracks in the final step of this article the busses will now be part of that export!

Logic Pro X: Select Region

Rename the Tracks

IMPORTANT! Before exporting anything, give each one of your tracks a meaningful name. This will help the mixer quickly organize them before starting. There’s nothing worse than “Audio 1, 2, 3″ or “obscure preset name” when receiving a batch of stems. To avoid that, double-click the track’s existing names to rename them. Whatever you write here will be saved to the track’s file name when you export.

Logic Pro X: Rename Tracks

Export All Tracks (Including Multi-Out Instruments)

Navigate to Logic’s File menu, go to Export”, and select All Track’s as Audio Files. A finder window appears allowing you to save all the tracks from your song. Create a folder where you will save these files and call it “[Song Name] Stems.” This is where you’ll save them.

If you have them Multi-Output Software Instruments, follow these steps:

From the Multi-Output Software Instrument menu, select One File Per Channel Strip. This selection works best, but some of the other options in this menu might work better for your workflow. Let’s say that you’re not entirely sure if some of the tracks were clipping. From the Normalize menu I’ll choose Overload Protection. This great feature will lower the volume of any tracks that are over zero decibel, and doesn’t touch the tracks that are below it.

Choose WAV as the Save Format, 24-bit or 32 bit float for the Bit Depth and press Save. As mentioned above, you also have the option to bypass/include effects, and volume/pan automation. It’s all up to you as to what you actually want to include and not include, so the steps above show how to remove these on single tracks.

Logic Pro X: Export All

Bonus Tip

After the stems are saved, zip them and use our mixing site’s file upload system. On Mac right click on the folder where you exported the stems before (“[Song Name] Stems”) and click compress.

Once complete, follow this link to our upload form and follow the instructions.

Photo courtesy of: https://ask.audio/articles/logic-pro-x-prepping-stems-for-a-mix-or-remix
exporting ableton live feature photo
Mar 22

How to Export Stems In Ableton Live

By _bayland | Ableton Live , Tips

How to Export Stems In Ableton Live

 

If you are sending your song to us online for mixing and mastering, it’s very important to make sure your files are sent correctly. Thankfully, Ableton makes it quick and easy for you to export your stems!

A stem is a single element of the song exported as a single file. Multiple tracks that you’re rendering at one time can be put together to recreate the song. Ableton has a very simple and straight forward way of doing this, so let’s go through it now!

Step 1 – Label Your Tracks

Before exporting anything, you need to make sure everything is labeled. Whenever you send your files to someone else, it’s important to make sure the person it’s going to knows what every file contains. Ableton exports multiple audio tracks, so if you have a vocal and a snare on one single track, it will make things a little bit crazy. It also labels the audio tracks based on what the track names are, and not the clip names. Select each track name and label them to represent what that tracks are doing. 

Ableton labeling

Step 2 – Arrangement Is Everything!

Ableton’s session view allows you to play various Scenes and Clips in any particular order. You can render audio from the Session view just specify the amount of time with your current selection that you would like to have rendered.

In the Arrangement View, you can either drag-select the area that you would like to export…

Arrangement view rendering - Ableton

Or, you can use the loop selection range to choose what area of the song you’d like to export…

Using loop selection - Ableton

In this mode, just make sure that you have something in the arrangement!

Step 3 – Export

Once you’re ready to export your stems to audio and you’ve highlighted your arrangement (or set up your loop range), press: Command-Shift-R

This box will appear:

Export options - Ableton Live

Ensure the bottom section of the box indicates the right time range.

Set the time range - Ableton

Indicate if you want to render in stereo, or mono. For stems, or separated tracks, choose “mono”. If you have stereo loops in your arrangement, you will need to go back and render those in “stereo” separately.

More options - Ableton

Finally, select the all the tracks you want to export. If yo want all the tracks, select the “All Tracks” option.

All Tracks option - Ableton

Important: When Ableton Live asks you where you want to save the ‘audio file’, create a new folder and name it by the name of the song. Export all of those files in the same folder.  

Once complete, follow this link to our upload form and follow the instructions.

Image credit: https://ask.audio/articles/exporting-stems-in-ableton-live
Improve Your Vocal Recordings in 5 Easy Steps feature photo
Mar 20

Improve Your Vocal Recordings in 5 Easy Steps

By _bayland | Recording , Tips

Improve Your Vocal Recordings in 5 Easy Steps – Studio 411

Intro

Before we get into the nitty gritty, lets dive in to what it means to be intentional with everything we do. We first need to know exactly what we’re recording and understand the approach is never going to be exactly the same.

With regard to vocal recordings, we need to understand that background (supporting parts) and main parts will likely be treated differently. Most of this can be re-created in the mix, but it’s always better that it sounds incredible from the very beginning!

Decide what kind of sound your going for. Ask yourself these important vocal recording questions first:

* Is the vocal supposed to be big and roomy?

* Is the vocal tight and present?

* How important is the part in regards to the whole project?

* What physical space do you have available to use at the present moment?

* Do you have anything to help minimize or maximize the recording space?

* What problems do you want to avoid in your vocal recording?

* What characteristics do you want to accent in the recording?

Mood:

The most important part of any vocal recording is the performance. The vocalist needs to be in the right frame of mind to make sure they do their best because lets face it, there’s no amount of money or equipment in the world that will get a good recording out of a bad vocal performance.

A bad vocal performance could simply mean the artist was having a bad day, or is going through a breakup. It’s part of the job to make sure the artist is comfortable and in the right headspace.

Try setting up some water, hot tea, and light snacks out. It will help make the artist feel a little more at ease. If you are recording yourself, try to watch an inspirational Youtube video, or scroll through some super funny memes. Do whatever you have to do to get in the right frame of mind!

Mic placement

Next, you’ll want to decide the way you place the microphone. It is always a matter of compromise between what you want to do with the vocal recording, the environment you are recording in, and the vocalist’s tonal character. I’ll give you a quick example of a question we commonly get asked:

What’s the best way to record vocals?

In many cases this question refers to a main vocal in a modern stylistic representation (pop, hip hop, or EDM).

Make sure that the microphone is oriented in a way that will not impede their inspired, energetic performance.

Distance and Levels

For this type of vocal sound, you’ll need a to make sure the microphone is placed about 5 – 7 inches from the artist, and make sure that the levels going into your DAW are, for simplicity’s sake, sitting nicely between the green and yellow lines.

Don’t worry about compression or equalization on the way in. Your environment will factor in more than any of that.

If your room isn’t treated, try to minimize as much of the “room” sound as you can. Try draping heavy blankets over microphone stands and make a makeshift booth for the artist. You can move the microphone stands to really “dial in”

the sound you’re looking for. If you have a reflection filter, use that in conjunction with the blanket booth.

Mixing and Mastering

Mixing and mastering is much different than recording. It’s very important to have room that is designed to let the listener hear what’s really coming out of the speakers. There are special architects that specialize in designing how the audio waves in a room react inside of the very room it lives in. It also takes a specially trained ear to be able to make accurate changes to a recording so that it can sound like a radio ready hit. Studio 411 offers the best online mixing and mastering service available today and have very affordable rates for any budget. For a limited time, try our mixing and mastering service free.

Final Thoughts

In summery, make sure that the artist gives their best performance first and foremost. Other than that there isn’t a lot too a vocal recording. You can get creative and do some fun stuff with it, but always remember that there’s no right or wrong way to do it.